And now the home works for not only three rambunctious kids but grown-ups alike, thanks to Suyama Peterson Deguchi.
STORY GOES that the remodel began with the idea of a new kitchen.
But that’s not it.
It was the dishwasher.
“I bought Linda a really nice dishwasher with wheels, and we used that for 10 years,” says Ian Eisenberg. “But she didn’t want it anymore. She wanted a built-in.” Linda Eisenberg screws up her face in a visual “yuk.” Nods her confirmation.
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And then she’s gone.
The Eisenbergs are a family at full throttle. Three boys: 9, 12 and 13. Out front are bikes and scooters and helmets and basketballs. Out back are the boys, hollering and splashing and jumping and swimming in the pool with their cousins not far from the family’s dock on Lake Washington in the Leschi neighborhood.
What began with the dishwasher is now this, a down-to-the-studs and set-upon-the-original-foundation contemporary remodel of function and form (but no frills) designed by principal architect Jay Deguchi (project architect Rune Martinson) of Suyama Peterson Deguchi.
It wasn’t about bigger. Even with a new second-floor master suite, the home, built by Cole Building Co., grew by a mere 500 square feet from the original 3,400. It was about spaces (opening them) and light (inviting it in). After a decade spent navigating the chopped-up rooms of the original 1949 design, it was time.
“We liked the basic layout, but it was divided into too many small rooms,” says Ian from the dining table of the now great room: living, dining and kitchen, lined with glass accordion doors 24 feet long that open wide to the lake and mountains.
“We wanted to open it up so we could see the kids, until we realized that we could also hear them,” he says. Linda laughs.
She’s gone again.
“It gets pretty violent around here,” says Ian over the hoops and hollers.
The home you see before you is the Eisenberg place in its idealized state. Sleek and spare, the kitchen bright and fun, lots of storage, a place for everything and everything in there.
Today, however, is real. It’s the morning after a birthday party. The dining table is littered with Bugs Bunny DVDs, a bag of pipe cleaners. Just outside the front door the boys’ pet rats are getting some sun. In cages. Next to a bag of baseball bats.
Of their architects Ian says, “We pretty much gave them carte blanche. This is what they do. If you don’t trust the architects, don’t hire them.”
That trust, in this case, is two homes deep: The Eisenbergs also remodeled their previous house from the foundation up with Suyama Peterson Deguchi.
The thing Ian likes about their work, he says, is “that there isn’t a lot of adornment. There’s no fake anything.”
That kind of thinking is particularly helpful at this point in their lives. Finishes are durable; lighting is minimal. There are concrete floors, white-repaintable walls, blackened-steel stairs and railings, doorways and windows without trim or casings. Everything as boy-proof as possible.
The concrete slab of the daylight basement has been ground down and refinished, but it’s still an old concrete floor. And, in the bathroom there, plywood cabinets, sealed but unstained. On the roof, solar panels provide electricity, heat water.
The mission of durability artistically achieved begins streetside with charred cedar siding. House and garage have been joined with a glass-covered walkway. Between them is a concrete play court: “I’m not a fan of grass,” says Ian.
The best thing about their home now? “The light,” Ian says.
Linda agrees. “Yeah, for sure, and . . .”
Annnnnd, she’s gone.